THERE are several significant developments which are under way or nearing completion in Merthyr Tydfil which could have a significant impact on the lives of young people in the county borough for years to come.
New school buildings, a new skate park and a redeveloped swimming pool are among the things that are in the process of being delivered which could have big benefits for the education and well-being of youngsters in Merthyr Tydfil.
Here’s a low down of some of the developments we’ve reported on recently and what they involve.
New Catholic school Blessed Carlo Acutis
One of the major developments in education in Merthyr Tydfil in recent years has been the new 3-16 Catholic school on the former Bishop Hedley site.
Although there was a bit of debate about where the new school building should go at first, the Bishop Hedley site was chosen for the new buildings to be built on and for now the school is currently up and running on the current school sites.
And with planning permission now granted it’s now full steam ahead with the aim being to open the new buildings in September 2026.
Blessed Carlo Acutis will accommodate a primary school with 525 places, a nursery with 100 full-time equivalent places and a secondary school with 600 places.
It replaces St Aloysius RC Primary School, the Federation of St Illtyd’s RC, St Mary’s RC Primary School and Bishop Hedley School and represents a major transformation for Catholic education in the county borough.
New skate park
Back in August, the council unveiled its plans for a new family-friendly skate park in the town centre which it expects to open next year.
It would replace the existing one at Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Village and be next to Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre.
It is a joint initiative led by Merthyr Tydfil Council and Wellbeing Merthyr (formerly Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust) with funding coming from the council and the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns initiative.
The development would also see improvements such as park benches, flower beds and other greenery.
The hope is that bringing it closer to the leisure centre will make it a safer space for all users and link it directly to existing leisure facilities, from the bowls club to the Gol centre.
It forms a key part of the council’s town centre masterplan and has funding coming from the Welsh Government and the hope is that this and the redevelopment of the leisure centre swimming pool will have a real positive impact on people’s health and well-being.
There’s also redevelopment happening at the Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre itself with the aim being to re-open the redeveloped swimming pool this autumn.
The pool has been closed since December 2019 due to structural issues which must be a cause of frustration for all concerned but the new £6m investment promises to transform the facility.
The plan is for a 25m, six lane main pool, a dedicated teaching pool offering a full swimming education programme plus a new splash pool designed to inspire water confidence and deliver engaging sensory experiences for toddlers.
The changing facilities will also be updated and redesigned to improve the overall visitor experience.
There is also set to be an environmental benefit with decarbonisation measures included such as replacing gas fuelled boilers with more efficient air source heat pumps, which is predicted to cut carbon emissions by 61 per cent and create a more sustainable future for the centre.
There’s sure to be much anticipation about the pool re-opening after such a long closure and hopefully it can lead be a real boost for people’s health and well-being when it does re-open.
Progress on new school buildings
We all want the best possible facilities for our children where there going to be educated.
In March this year, councillors took plans for a new build for Greenfield Special School on the Heartlands site to the next stage by agreeing to include it in its programme of school investment.
The council’s vision for the special school also includes development of the heritage building on the proposed site for potentially a range of therapeutic, health and other services to support children with complex needs.
Although it’s a few years off with construction work potentially starting in the 2026/2027 financial year with completion by September 2028, it could be game changing for the county borough as it’s the only special school in Merthyr Tydfil and will allow for greater capacity and improved facilities.
There are also big plans for a new building for Goetre Primary in Gurnos due to the condition of the current school.
This would be located less than half a mile away from the current site on land below Pen Y Dre High School. It will have a Multi-use Games Area (MUGA), community facilities, and a childcare setting.
With the major refurbishment going on at Pen y Dre, which is set to be the first major school refurbishment project delivering net zero carbon in operation in Wales, it looks like there’s plenty of activity going on in Merthyr Tydfil’s schools aimed at improving facilities for the younger generation.